Wii U hasn't had a great year. That's a shame, especially given the quality of the games found on Nintendo's latest console. Ubisoft has always been one of the few third-party publishers to "get" how to make great games for Nintendo systems. Rayman Legends is no exception--even if sluggish sales forced the publisher to make it multi-platform. Although it's no longer a Wii U exclusive, it certainly plays like one, being one of the few games to showcase the unique benefits offered by the GamePad. With Rayman, Ubisoft manages to out-Nintendo Nintendo, who have yet to make a compelling argument themselves.
Experiencing the asymmetrical co-op play with another player is one of the real highlights of the year, especially when you traverse levels specifically designed for it. Drawing paths through candy, making platforms to block molten lava, and rotating the world with the GamePad's gyroscope--every element requires careful coordination and communication with your fellow player. It's one of those co-op experiences that make us glad there’s no online play.
Instead of having online multiplayer, Ubisoft brilliantly adds social and competitive elements that give players reason to come back every week. And while I've repeatedly touted Wii U’s unique gameplay, it doesn't hurt that the game is a brilliant, focused platformer on any platform. The musical levels in particular are fantastic fun--even without GamePad gimmicks.
Oh, and did I mention it’s gorgeous? Because it is.
The Shacknews Best of 2013 Awards were determined by ballot voting across the entire Shacknews staff. Stay tuned next week as we reveal all our winners.